So the Houston Dash finally have a head coach in Randy Waldrum, but just who is Randy Waldrum and why is he the right guy for the job? To answer those questions, we first need to delve into what Coach Waldrum is leaving behind.
Randy Waldrum became head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Women's Soccer Team, compiling a staggering 279-50-16 record and an astonishing 83.2% win percentage across his 14 years with the school. Across the entirety of his coaching career Waldrum owns a 462-155-35 record, which includes periods of 31 seasons.
Looking solely at Coach Waldrum's time as a women's coach, he's accumulated a 77.8% win percentage through 23 seasons which puts him fourth all-time among coaches with 10-plus seasons at the Division I level, and second among active coaches.
In his 14 seasons with Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish had 12 Big East regular-season and 7 Big East Championship titles, along with 2 NCAA Championships (2004 and 2010). In his tenure the Irish managed a stellar 67.4% win percentage against NSCAA Top 25 teams.
The accolades are many, and the records all speak to a coach who understands the game. Looking solely at the last 11 seasons every Notre Dame freshman class has rated among the top 10 in the nation, including a significant number of elite women's soccer players. In 2012, Notre Dame had the number 1 freshman class as rated by Top Drawer Soccer.
It isn't just in these statistics we find what makes Randy Waldrum such a coveted name for the Houston Dash. To maintain such a high level of play across so many seasons, and with revolving recruiting classes of players speaks to Coach's abilities to adjust his game plan to suit the talent and caliber of his players.
Considered by many pundits to be one of the most astute student's (and teacher's) of the game, Coach Waldrum just simply understands what it takes at every level to succeed including a current tenure as the Head Coach of the US Under-23 team.
Perhaps most important, however, Randy Waldrum has a wealth of experience building programs from the ground up.
In 1995, Coach Waldrum helped found the Baylor Bears women's soccer program from scratch. Baylor's first ever Big 12 Championship in any sport came in 1998 from the women's soccer team. Under Coach Waldrum the Baylor Bears notched a 46-14-3 record, and posting an astonishing 17-3-1 record in the first active season of play in 1996. He also helped start the Texas Wesleyan men's soccer program in 1988.
He's served as director of coaching for the Texas Longhorns Soccer Club from 1987-89, coaching one of the seven teams in the club while overseeing the other six.
Most of all, what makes Randy Waldrum the right person for the job has as much to do with who he's been as who he's become. Coach Waldrum is regarded as one of the best soccer minds in the United States, and someone with outstanding credentials even when beginning program's from scratch at the collegiate level. He's also well liked, and fondly remembered by every player who has played for him.
While the Houston Dash will be his first venture into the NWSL, Randy Waldrum has all of the qualifications, all of the know-how, and all of the wisdom only years of experience can bring. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have such a beloved and well-respected member of the women's soccer community to call our own.
Coach Waldrum, welcome to Houston Dash. #DashOn